There have been few times in history when the media has been as incompetent as it is today.
One of the more sinister forms that this incompetence takes is something I call “swarm theory.”
Swarm theory is similar to the idea of the media echo chamber. One media outlet reports on a story, and the fact that one media outlet reported on it makes it ‘newsworthy’. Other media outlets begin to cover it. The original source goes back and covers all of the coverage; and the self-sustaining loop continues.
A good example of swarm theory in action is the Penn State sexual assault cases. When the story broke, it was sufficiently horrible to capture some attention. That attention was then reported on and amplified. The coverage became a month long free-for-all, with the alleged perpetrator, Jerry Sandusky, being tried in the court of public opinion.
But did you hear about the scandal in Syracuse at around the same time? Bernie Fine, an associate head coach in the Syracuse basketball program, has been fired as a result of former students coming forward with claims of molestation that span two decades. The major difference in this story? The swarm did not descend on Syracuse. But this serves to highlight a flaw in the media that most people still rely on. In this case, it turned out to not matter. Bernie Fine was fired. The police are looking into the allegations, and he will be dealt with by the courts. Good.
In sports media, the swarm can only impact the discussion; it can’t actually change the game. Tim Tebow may get more attention than he needs because the media is fascinated by the concept of open and proud Christianity. But in the greater scheme of things, sports journalism doesn’t really matter.
In political news, the swarm can make or break candidates. For example, there was a piece from Newsbusters earlier this month about MSNBC’s bias in reporting scandals and allegations of scandals.
The swarm of the media isn’t blind. It doesn’t settle on random stories to inflate. They choose the stories they want to catch on. They choose which stories they want to go away. How do they make that decision? Through liberal talking points.
They look at the “Fast and Furious” scandal and refuse to cover it. A few stories slip through, courtesy of the few honest journalists, but the vast majority of the media swarm ignores it, because it doesn’t match what they believe. Why should they bother looking into it? They already know that Eric Holder is virtually incapable of wrong-doing, right? They know that Eric Holder is wise, that Eric Holder would never do anything so stupid. This story must not matter, because if it mattered, it could hurt their cause.
They look at the racial slur painted on the rock on the property that Rick Perry’s parents leased 30 years ago and explode with outrage, bombarding us with coverage; and they (intentionally) critically damage his campaign. As everyone in the media knows, Republicans (especially Tea Party Republicans) are racist. This is just confirmation of a false-truth they already believe.
One of these stories is a currently running scandal with a growing body-count, ties to the drug cartels, and perhaps a sinister measure to implement gun control. It threatens the political career of Eric Holder, and possibly President Obama as well. But let’s not look at that. We need to spend all of our time examining the type of paint that Rick Perry used to paint over the rock.
The media’s reach and influence are huge, and hard to over-estimate; but our generation isn’t really watching broadcast news, so the swarm has found other ways to reach them. Instead of using shills in the media, the left has turned the university system—intended to be bastions of independent thought—into a trap-laden maze of political correctness and assumptions of liberal superiority. Whether or not we like it, the left’s training of our generation is being finalized at the university and college level. Rush Limbaugh was right (as he often is), when he talked about how university professors use their papers to codify liberalism. They classify conservatism as a mental disorder, and they treat it like one in class. They codify their falsehood in layers of research papers that are built on the faulty assumptions they continue to make.
At the moment, they are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of our generation. But we can stop them. When you see a fellow conservative stand up in class, only to have the swarm of the outraged liberal students shut down all discussion, don’t sit there in silence, be vocal in your agreement and strengthen each other. When you read a great story on your favorite blog, post it to Facebook. Share it on Twitter. Make your friends aware of the real stories that are out there. Bring up these major scandals in class, and be prepared to defend yourself (and others) from the professor. Join a Tea Party or 9/12 group. Write an op-ed for the school newspaper (or any newspaper), and make yourself a pillar of truth that the swarm can’t beat down. We are fighting for the truth. We won’t lose unless we lose heart.